Wakanda Forever! became one of the most popular catchphrases in the world following the phenomenal success that was 2018’s Black Panther. Among many other reasons, the catchphrase signified inclusion, recognition, and an understanding of what it meant to be black, proud, and powerful. It went on to have a life of its own and, somewhat, became synonymous with the franchise and all that it represented for Africans throughout the world. In the wake of Chadwick Boseman’s passing, the highly-anticipated sequel to the $1.344 billion USD grossing film is rightly subtitled after this catchphrase.
Shortly after Boseman died in 2020, the question of how Marvel Studios hoped to move forward with the story of Wakanda without its lead actor loomed, and it didn’t take too long for the question to have a booming voice. Marvel Studios and returning director Ryan Coogler had to come forward with a response: they weren’t going to recast T’Challa even though they knew how important (and easy for them) having him in the story would be. Instead, “to honor the legacy that Chad helped us build, we want to continue to explore the world of Wakanda and all the rich and varied characters introduced in the first film,” Kevin Feige said. Fans were divided. Some thought it unnecessary to shelf a character that clearly meant so much to so many, citing the character being bigger than one man; an argument Chadwick’s own brother, Derrick Boseman, appeared to agree with. Others sided with the studios’ creatives, agreeing that shelving the character was the best way to preserve Chadwick Boseman’s legacy. It’s been a long time since this argument first began and, now, with the official release of the first trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the chatter continues.
When we last left Wakanda, King T’Challa had succeeded in opening the technologically-advanced country’s doors to the rest of the world, a move that saw Wakanda’s grounds being used to take a stand against Thanos’ vast armies. That didn’t end well, but thanks to the events of Avengers: Endgame, both T’Challa and Shuri returned with all the others who were snapped out of existence by Thanos. The new trailer gives a lot of hints that T’Challa is now dead in the MCU, and it remains to be seen how best Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hopes to plausibly explain this.
Should Marvel Studios have recast T’Challa for Black Panther 2?
There’s no easy way to answer this question. Truth is, everyone would answer sentimentally according to what both actor Chadwick Boseman and his character T’Challa mean to them. The best we can do is trust that Kevin Feige, Ryan Coogler, and the incredible cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever know what they’re doing and would only do what’s best for Boseman’s memory and the legacy of the character he helped bring to life.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens in cinemas starting November 11, 2022.